|GYC Motor Trip to Carteret|
It might have taken two attempts, but the GYC Motor Section trip to Carteret finally took place and in the process fully lived up to expectations as the Committee’s ‘Blue Ribbon’ event.
The trip was originally planned to take place in June but had to be postponed because the Committee felt it would reflect badly on our sailing colleagues if our event were to go ahead on the same weekend that the Carey Olsen race was postponed due to high winds and rough seas! Therefore, with a new date set in the diary, the GYC Motor Committee planned to invade Carteret on the August Bank Holiday weekend.
Never before has the weather been so intensely scrutinised before an event. Several internet servers were crashed and the level of interest in weather-related websites was rumoured to have affected the FTSE Index. A week before and the event was going to be called off; the Monday before and it was in the balance, but by the briefing for the event on Thursday evening the Committee had spoken to the Met Office and the Lifeboat Coxwain and a decision had been made to go for it. During the briefing the Motor Committee pointed out that members may have experienced flatter trips to France, but with the Force 4 to 5 winds blowing directly from the west, the trip to Carteret would be perfectly safe for everyone.
By Friday afternoon, a total of 18 boats and 53 crew decided to head for the charming coastal resort of Carteret and a little over an hour later, the majority were all safely installed in the French Marina, with others following on the Saturday morning.
Despite the meticulous planning by the Committee, Carteret in August is very busy and the mooring arrangements were not as envisaged. Some members decided to feed the Harbourmaster, Jean-Marc, a continuous supply of whiskey to see if plans could change. While this made him very happy, it was not possible to shuffle the marina completely but it really didn’t matter as everyone was happily accommodated and the GYC members seemed perfectly happy with the arrangements.
The Harbourmaster and the President of the Barneville-Carteret Yacht Club (Gillbert) played host to the Motor Section on Friday night and with the support of the bar manager Laetitia, laid on a fantastic welcome Barbeque and complimentary glass of wine. In fact, some members seemed to enjoy more than one glass of wine and whether it was the heady French air or the altitude of the Yacht Club building itself (a good 20 feet above mean sea level) the effect seemed quite dramatic. Grown men danced and women bought rounds. Motor boaters embraced yachties and the French washed their hands. Quite spectacular. For that night, the Yacht Club was rightly repatriated as an exclusively Norman domain without any sign of those Royalists from across the water.
Saturday morning began, for some members, sometime around early afternoon. Following the croissant run most members decided to go ahead with the planned visit to the Barneville Market and to absorb the delights of this undeniably French experience. This trip on terra firma seemed to be the best option, as Saturday saw the winds increase to the forecast force 5 gusting 6, which was fine for those already locked in to the marina, but thoughts turned to those planning to make the crossing on Saturday morning. G-Purrs (Ian and Sandra Gee and Tony Chankun) and Samurai (Jeff Fox and Lesley Pemberton) braved the conditions and after a far from smooth crossing, were reunited with the other Club members by late morning.
By late afternoon most of the members had returned to their boats to soak up the evening sun and to prepare themselves for the main event of the trip - dinner at La Potiniere restaurant. La Potiniere is a real hidden gem. I say hidden – for a lot of the time it’s either covered by waves or by sand. This place couldn’t be any more on the beach. With the draw of a two-hour happy hour (you’ve got to love the French) most members arrived at around 6:30pm, just quarter of an hour or so before high water. The 8.6 metre tide meant that the walk across the beach to the restaurant almost required wellies, but there was just enough of the beach to make it in the dry. The consequence of this was the waves lapped against the sea wall of the restaurant and, together with the warm summer sunshine, the terrace provided an idyllic and most atmospheric setting for pre-dinner drinks.
The dinner was fantastic. The restaurant owner, Philipe, was delighted to accommodate the Club and Rear Commodore Motor, Robert (Doddy) Dodsworth, presented a GYC burgee, which Philipe clutched to his chest like a long-lost son (he didn’t knock anything off the bill, mind). The completion of eating brought about the onset of a steady flow of liquid refreshments and much dancing. A small number of GYC members decided to act as sweepers and remained until 2:15am to ensure everyone got back safely (ahem).
Sunday saw just two boats return to Guernsey. Poor Kim Torode and Tony Chankun had to return to work on the Bank Holiday Monday so Mark Lancaster, Kim and Tony set about tackling the less than smooth conditions onboard Dauphin. Harry Gold and Ken Riches also decided to make a run for it and had a long but reasonable journey on Resana. Luckily they all returned safely to Guernsey.
The Bank Holiday weekend allowed the flexibility of a Monday return and with better weather forecast for the Bank Holiday, all remaining boats took advantage of the extra day and improved conditions. Somehow those first 5 or 6 miles are always lumpy. It’s almost as if Carteret doesn’t want you to leave. Given the choice, many of us wouldn’t have and would have stayed on for another fantastic day in France, but in the NW force 4, the conditions were safe for the fleet to return home.
Some boats on the trip had never been to Carteret before and some Club members had not revisited for 20 years. Judging from the feedback received, members were surprised and delighted to discover such a magical French town on our doorstep and plan to return again to Carteret in the very near future.
End of Season Dinner
Sadly, the Carteret trip was the last waterborne GYC Motor event of the year. It’s been another fantastic season (despite what may prove to be one of the worst summers on record!) and the Motor Section has seen its membership swell month on month. But the season is not over. Oh no, not by a long way. As you read this, our end of season dinner is being planned and we have booked the Grand Mare Hotel for October 22nd. Reserve this date in your diary and dig out your fancy frocks and posh suits, because this is going to be one heck of a season finale! We will be sending out official invites and further details in early September.
In the meantime, happy boating and see you all on the 22nd October!
Your GYC Motor Committee:
Robert Dodsworth (Rear Commodore, Motor)
Colin Le Conte
Below are a selection of photos of the Carteret Trip. You should be able to download an favourites to your hard disk
Click on the photo below for the photo album